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Scoliosis and Yoga

Posted Jan 15 2009 11:46pm 3 Comments
I found out I had Scoliosis when I was nineteen. I was in college and starting having back pain. One of my friends noticed that one of my hips was higher than the other and upon going to the doctor learned that I had Scoliosis. I was always checked for it when I was in school but they never said I had it. It’s possible that I had a growth spurt my senior year in high school and since they didn ’t screen for it then it may have been overlooked.

It didn ’t help that I carried my book bag, loaded down with heavy textbooks, on one shoulder, as opposed to the correct way, on both shoulders. The one shoulder thing was cool. It was cool in junior high, high school and part of college. My sophomore year of college I started wearing my book bag the correct way with the straps on both shoulders.
Some people are born with scoliosis but most develop it during childhood/adolescence, when the person is growing. PLEASE tell you kids not to wear their book bags this way. I don’t think this is the “cool” way anymore but just in case it comes back into fashion, don’t let them! Kids today may be smarter anyways than I was when I was in school.

The medical community doesn ’t really know what causes Scoliosis and most cases of Scoliosis are labeled “ idiopathetic ” meaning unknown cause. This label is often used with adult onset scoliosis as well as when Scoliosis is a secondary symptom of another condition such as Cerebral Palsy. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine but can also be a rotation. This can cause the ribs to stick out more on one side, one hip to be higher than the other, etc. Those with Scoliosis can develop an “S” curve (two curves) or a “C” curve (one curve). The curves can be on either side of the spine. In my case I have a “C” curve ( right thoraco -lumbar ) the major curve is to the right in the thoracic and lumbar region of my back.

After college I had back pain associated with my Scoliosis and never really found anything to help alleviate the pain. That is until I found Svaroopa yoga. See Svaroopa yoga post for more info. I’ ve been doing this type of yoga for almost five years now and can honestly say that the only time I get pain or back problems is when I haven’t been doing my yoga!

Recently, my yoga instructor told me about another yoga instructor from Palo Alto, California named Elise Miller. Elise, who has Scoliosis herself, teaches yoga specifically for those with Scoliosis and other back problems. She is a faculty member at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. I just ordered her video and am very excited to try the Iyengar yoga style. I will keep you all posted on my experience with Elise’s video!

You can read an article Elise wrote for Yoga Journal here.
Elise also wrote an extensive article for teachers in Yoga Journal.

Comments (3)
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i just bought this same video i am pleased to know some one else is getting results.My curve came back after35 years ,and I believe it was due not only to lack of exercise but,my 3,4 lumbar was fractuered in a car accident when i was 33 .I am now 49 and this video has strengthed and nearly straightened my curve same as yours.
This was very helpful.  My son was just diagnosed with scoliosis. He is terribly unorganized at school, so fearful of forgetting books that he heaps loads in his backpack, carrying on one shoulder. I knew nothing good could come of that. I've been a long time practitioner of Pilates which has a similar "straightening" effect on the spine.  I'll check out the video. Thanks
I also found out I had scoiliosis as an adult. It explained a lot of my problems and I started doing different exersices trying to correct it. I finally have tried taking a Bikram Yoga class, and although not all the postures seemed to fit my condition, I picked a few which I felt were helping. The heat in the room also makes great impact. For a couple of month my spine was clicking in each class, and after about a year the twist in the spine has gone a way, and now I'm in the straightening stage. I sure takes time but its well worth it since scoliosis really damages body control by nerve system.
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